I mentioned in my last post that a review of Blue Dragon Plus would be coming up, and it's about that time. Unfortunately, I got the game 2-3 days after I expected it to get here, so I took a little extra time to work through it some more.
The first thing I will say is this: It was not what I expected it to be. It was better, most definitely. I was expecting a cookie cutter RPG, sort of like Fire Emblem, fun, but overdone. Well, I was quite surprised when it turned out quite different. Read on for more. ^^
First off, I want to say that I like the packaging. I know it's insignificant, but I just have to mention that the simple, streamlined design is quite attractive.
Of course, the important part is the gameplay, which is actually real time. This isn't my first RTS, but it was pretty innovative in the way things were implemented. I started the game off with a tutorial stage, which was quite nice. Easy to understand and it taught me what I needed to know.
You could say that this is a very fast paced game. There are medals that you pick up automatically when one of your units simply walks over it, so no need to stop and "loot." Also, there are treasure chests in almost all stages. In order to pick these up you just have to click a unit, and click the chest. That unit will automatically go up to it and take the loot. Of course, you need to be careful that the unit doesn't get ambushed on the way to the chest. ^^
One of the things that bugged me a bit were some of the drawn out conversations. While they were rather informative, they were a bit long-winded at times, which seems to oppose the idea that this game is aimed toward children. Children = short attention span, thus, long conversations = bad. Of course, that's just a small complaint. I really loved that I got a healer relatively early on in the game, and she AoE heals at that! What game lets you have an AoE healer after the first few battles!? None that I know of, except this one. ^^
The graphics were pretty nice too, cut-scenes made use of both screens, and quality was the best you could expect a DS to handle. Pretty much the entire game is controlled using a stylus and your D-pad, so get used to using that stylus if you aren't already. I found it sort of a pain that I had to constantly touch the screen with a stylus in order for the text to speed up. I didn't want to skip it altogether, but it was far to slow, with no setting (that I know of) to speed it up.
Another pet peeve for me were the menus. They seemed to be made up of *too* many gradient like "buttons," most of which weren't really buttons. I had to figure out if there was more than one button on multiple menus. Definitely could have used a better layout.
Though most of the menus had a pretty bad design, there was one VERY cool redeeming feature, and that was detailed stats of the characters. Far too many RPGs and RTSs don't let you see detailed stats, but this game had it all, far too many to list, but really anything you would need in order to see each of the unit's strengths and weaknesses.
All of my complaints are quite minimal in importance though, because the game is very playable, and very fun. I'm definitely planning to finish it, just a little at a time due to time restraints. Overall, I would definitely recommend this game to any RPGers or RTSers who don't mind playing on a DS, as well as anyone interested in fast-paced game play. It keeps you on your toes, thinking about what to do in split second timing. At the very least, it's good for your brain. ^^
Lastly, just for your edification, there has been an anime made for the Blue Dragon series, 2 seasons in fact. Supposedly part of the first season aired on Cartoon Network, but got canceled soon thereafter. There was also a manga made for the series which ran for 4 volumes. Interestingly, the art for the manga was done by Takeshi Obata, who, as some of you may recall, was the artist for Death Note, Bakuman, and Hikaru no Go.
For anyone interested, I suggest Amazon.com if you want to buy Blue Dragon Plus.
Thanks to RocketXL for allowing me to review Blue Dragon Plus, I'm willing to review any other DS, Wii, or computer games that will be coming out. ^^
(Read the rest of this post here.)